I thought it would be helpful to share some insights on how bands can email their fans more effectively. I belong to several band mailing lists (some by choice and some not by choice which can be a lesson in itself) and see many opportunities for musicians and bands to make more of an impact with the emails that they send.
I’m not going to disclose the name of the band that sent out this email for obvious reasons, and I also don’t want anyone to think that I’m coming down on these guys. The truth is that the vast majority of bands aren’t even building their own mailing list, much less communicating effectively with one - so the band I’m critiquing is at least on the right track.
With that said, here’s the email I received:
Subject: HALF PRICE SALE and new live video!!
From: <undisclosed band>
Just wanted to announce we have our CD's on sale for HALF PRICE through our website: www.undisclosedband.com until July 31st!!
AS WELL, we just published our first(of several) live videos from our recent <local major city> show on YouTube at:
[link to youtube video]
Just copy and paste the link above to check it out!
Peace all of you!
Okay - so let’s start with the positive, what is this undisclosed band doing right? Well, the email is short, includes a link and has a friendly, conversational tone. It’s not overly hypey (the caps might be a little much for some people) and they own their bandname.com with email setup accordingly - something I always heavily endorse rather than just having a presence on Facebook or some other Web 2.0 type property.
However - it can be improved, so let’s start at the top and work our way down.
Item #1 - The subject line isn’t necessarily bad, but one of the things that you never want to do is give your audience too many options. The ideal email should promote only one thing and seek the reader to take one particular action. The more options you give someone, the less chance they’re going to take the one you want or make any.
Yes it’s technically more work to send two emails. I’m guessing that this band hasn’t sent an email in quite a while and figured they’d kill two birds with one stone.
Also, I suspect that perhaps they were a little worried about pitching their sale too hard and thought that by also mentioning their free video on Youtube that they wouldn’t come across as ‘salesy’.
Perfectly understandable, but all the best intentions in the world aren’t going to get the reader to take the action you want them to take..
Let’s not kid ourselves - the half price sale is the real reason the message was sent out and like any business, without money this undisclosed band will be hard pressed to record and release new music much less continue playing shows in the big local city without earning some cash along the way.
Zero in on one message and if someone is annoyed that you’re trying to sell a cd - let that be their problem and not yours.
Item #2 - Did anybody else notice the “TO” field? “email@example.com” - doesn’t come across as dignified or personalized. does it? For the most part the word “fan” is a complete turn off. We either think of screaming teeny-bopper girls during the height of Beatlemania or we think of deranged lunatics or stalkers that end up turning on those that they idolize - neither of which is what the typical person wants to be associated with.
You can call your fans, fans or whatever else you want when you’re talking amongst to yourself - but I recommend that you don’t say it directly to them.
Getting an email sent to ‘fans2’ screams automated email and possibly spam. You want to have the person’s actual name or email address here to ensure that the email is actually delivered to the inbox and more likely to be opened.
Item #3 - “Hi everyone” - Sounds cheery and approachable but it makes the fatal mistake of revealing that you’re not sending out a personal message. People love to be addressed directly, they like it when you call them by name - they want personal attention.
Nobody likes mass mail.
This email would be much better by saying “Hi <person’s first name>. It would add that personal touch even though everyone on your list is getting the same email. If you do this part right, even those who understand that you’re really mailing a whole slew of people will still be more interested in reading...and some people may actually think that you sent the email to them specifically!
Again - there’s an easy way to fix this.
Item #4 - “Just wanted to announce we have our CD's on sale for HALF PRICE through our website: www.undisclosedband.com until July 31st!!”
While I can nitpick about this sentence further, there are really three main problems with this sentence.
- The URL goes to the website instead of an actual page that exists only to sell the cd.
- The URL isn’t linked - forcing the reader to copy and paste it into their browser. This also means that you’re not tracking the click-thru rate of the people reading your email.
- You tell them the sale is good for about 6 weeks (I received this email on June 11). Nothing kills a sale longer than either no deadline or a deadline set so far into the future that nobody will remember it.
Again - this can be easily fixed.
Item #5 - “AS WELL, we just published our first(of several) live videos from our recent <local major city> show on YouTube at:
http://youtu.be/44trt45eww2 (link disabled to protect the undisclosed)
Just copy and paste the link above to check it out!
After just mentioning the sale (and presumably the main point of the email) with a non-clickable and non-direct link to the sale or offer page - the author now redirects attention to a free Youtube video that actually has a working link.
They say copy and paste the link even though the link was clickable in my particular email program.
So even though this was a short email, there are 5 main flaws with the email that would dramatically improve the odds of this band selling more of their CDs. If you make the changes that I suggest you’ll actually be email marketing instead of just ‘sending out an email’.
You can go out and start applying these ideas to your own email efforts right away, and next time I’ll share some resources to make building up an email list and conducting email marketing campaigns easier and more successful for you.
However, if you found a lot of value in this example of a particular email being dissected, I’d like to tell you about John Oszajca’s Inside Circle. It’s a fantastic montlhly training program that delves into the finer aspects of music marketing online. The training is amazing and the value of what you learn inside is easily worth 10 times what you pay as long as you actually apply it.
I bring this up because I’m a member of the Inside Circle and I’ve seen some members use it as a forum to have their email campaigns critiqued and improved by John and the other members in the forum. So if you found this example valuable, you could have the same type of help on your email marketing campaigns inside the forum.
I give John Oszajca’s Inside Circle the highest praise that I can think of - it’s a marketing training for musicians that I wish I had created myself. John is a very active member of the forum and you can interact with him directly. It’s rare that you’d otherwise have the opportunity to get advice right from the “horse’s mouth” for such a small fee each month.
Go here for more information on the The Insider Circle (affiliate link). Yes, it costs money to join but remember that there's nothing more expensive than misinformation. John knows his stuff on the marketing and music side of the business like nobody else out there.
In my next post, I’ll share some resources that make email marketing for musicians much easier and effective at the same time.